Senior Charlie Jones battled injuries throughout his Commodore career. This spring, however, he was moved into the tennis team's No. 1 position after junior Ryan Lipman's season was cut short. Jones posted 14 wins in 23 matches at No. 1 and was ranked as high as 34th in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. A native of Destrehan, La., he has already accepted admission to Vanderbilt Law School this fall.
On his first experience with tennis:
"My parents sent me to a summer camp when I was 9 or 10 that was all sports, and they would let you choose whatever sport you wanted to play in the afternoon. They had basketball and swimming and all that, and I would always choose tennis. I'm not really sure why, but it was always most fun to me."
On pre-match routines or superstitions:
"I'm kind of boring in that regard. I try not to eat too close to a match. I'd much rather play on an empty stomach than a full stomach, so I try to eat a long time before I play. I'm not always in the same mood going into a match. If I'm really wanting to be alone and listen to music, I'll do that. I have a favorite pair of compression shorts I wear. That's about as odd as it gets."
On moving up to No. 1 after Ryan Lipman's injury:
"It was disappointing, because obviously we would have been much better having Ryan out there, too. My coaches told me what kind of opportunity I had, playing one. It's a lot different, because every week you're playing somebody ranked really high, so you have huge individual opportunities every time you play. I've tried to take advantage of it. I've done a lot better than I would have expected if you would've asked me how I'd do at one. Most guys at one are big, and huge servers; that's been most of the guys I've played so far, and I've found a way to win a lot of them."
On mentoring the squad's six freshmen:
"It's been definitely a growing process for the freshmen and for me and our other senior, Alex DiValerio. I told the freshmen, `This is your first year of college and this is my first year trying to lead a team, so we're in the same boat in that regard.' It's been a lot of fun. They came in as the No. 1 class in the country, but they've improved so much--the way they're playing tennis right now, compared to how they were a couple months ago, is ridiculously different. They're so much better, and they get better every day. They all have good attitudes."
On balancing school with tennis:
"In some ways it's been really difficult, in some ways it's been a blessing. I don't know if I had so much time on my hands that I'd be better off academically; the discipline that athletics teaches you is second to none. You don't get that anywhere else. I know I have to get my school work done. I know I have to go to the training room. My schedule is always the same routine. It's very rigid. There's not much room for messing around."
On his plans after attending Vanderbilt Law School:
"A lot of stuff I've done in undergrad has had to do with international policy. That's what I'm most interested in. Ideally, I would want to get my law degree and go to D.C. and try to work in government to some extent, maybe with the State Department. I don't really have any lawyers in my immediate family, so I don't know that much about it all. When I get there it could all change."